Everyone always says they join dating websites for the quizzes, don’t they? It’s such a prominent excuse that has slid right over into ‘cliche’.
But truly, no lie, I did in fact join OKCupid for the quizzes. I joined in the autumn of 2007, when I finally succumbed to the persuasion of an online friend. He was right; it’s not a terrible site. I have really enjoyed my time on there. Aside from the occasional Nice Guy (TM) attack (apparently he was entitled to a response from me) and skeevy pervert (I really don’t need a sugar daddy, thank you), I’ve had a great time meeting new people, sharing experiences, and of course, taking quizzes.
It hasn’t always been fun and games, though. Finding love is not a game for the weak, and OKC does a bang up job helping to weed out the undeserving.
In December 2007, while I was in the middle of a quiz that promised me results as to which Greek goddess I am most like (this dramatization is actually for naught, as sadly, I actually remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at the time), I received a message from a boy named Alek*. He seemed a little pretentious but overall kind and talkative and, most importantly for a teenage girl, I found him boyishly handsome. We started IMing, then talking on the phone. It was over Christmas break, so naturally as a family-oriented Hispanic boy, he was surrounded by relatives and barely had a moment to spare. But for some reason that really flattered me at the time, he really wanted to spare that moment for me anyway. I remember at one point, he hid in a closet in order to escape his overbearing father’s wrathful vengeance over missed family time.
Eventually, despite the hardships that come from neither party possessing a license to drive and both parties possessing overbearing, suspicious parents, we were able to spend enough time with each other that we decided merited a change of Facebook relationship status.
Now, as I’m sure my current boyfriend can attest, I am not an easy person with which to be in a relationship. I am obsessive-compulsive, argumentative, perfectionist, and boy, do I love to talk. I’m also fickle, which means my feelings about people change daily. I can imagine those are not ideal qualities in a girlfriend; even less so when you’ve already got ‘the perfect girlfriend’ mapped out in your genius-IQed little head. I am certain that Alek had stopped just short of gathering all of the necessary robotic parts from eBay auctions located in the remotest mountainous regions of China. Before I went on a murderous rampage of my email inbox, purging it of all things related to the two-year nuclear fall-out that resulted from my inability to say no to a good quiz, I had saved at least 3 emails from him that mentioned the phrase ‘my ideal girlfriend’ and how at that particular moment, I either was or was not perfectly fitting the bill. (It also usually included kudos or ways to change my behavior in order to suit him.)
Long story short, I get that I am a fucked up person to be paired with. I understand that I could possibly benefit from some tinkering. However, as fucked up as a person may be, I think that there are some types of things that you just shouldn’t do to a person that you care about. I don’t think that you should promise to spend Thanksgiving with someone and then ditch them for your family at the last minute, leaving them stranded in the city until after midnight. I definitely don’t think that you should pressure them into sexual activity for which they’re clearly not ready. I really don’t think that it’s OK to allow family and friends to harass, humiliate, intimidate and insult a loved one, either.
I remember the feeling that I had when I first found out that all of Alek’s friends hated me. I’m not talking minor dislike, here, either; I mean the kind of hate that you’re proud to shout from the rooftops of New York City during a lightening storm. It’s the kind of hate that festers and then feeds on the mutual hurt from both parties, mutates through distorted information, and spews forth from people with no consciences and extreme biases. In case you’re not catching my drift: Things would happen between Alek and I, he would tell a sob-story to his friends, I would become the bad guy, and eventually, I was hit hard with insults and accusations from people that I thought were better than that. I remember feeling like the world had just dropped out from under me. I tried hard to maintain privacy with his friends regarding our issues, mostly because I knew that I would never find an ally among the frat-like mentality of that group. Once all was said and done, every single one of them had turned their back on my pleas of self-defense and assurances that the story they knew wasn’t entirely true, and unfriended me or, if laziness got in the way, ignored me until I deleted them. Even the few that I thought I could call friends, the ones that stuck around in the aftermath of the total destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Alek, have politely drifted into ignoring me as they would any beggar on the street in Atlanta.
For a first relationship to cause so much mental devastation… I was left so lost when it finally ended. I’m not proud of the way that I was able to finally reach acceptance. I had to go through all of the typical grieving stages – shock and denial, pain and guilt, bargaining, depression, the upward turn… I thought, “He can’t possibly be doing this to me, he must be just going through something difficult, it will work itself out. He’ll come running back to me soon.” Then: “How could he do this to me? He has such terrible friends, how could he allow them to treat me this way? I must deserve it; I must be a horrible person. He only wanted such simple things, I should have been able to provide him with a peaceful environment.” When he didn’t come running back, I thought I could persuade him to come back. Let your imagination take you anywhere on that one, it’s probably true. After that, I spent literally entire nights, into the mornings, tossing my suffering across 3 states, hoping someone else could help alleviate my pain. For about a month and a half, a tectonic plate happened to shift a little too close, causing me to become a little too optimistically happy and a little too horribly cruel to the boy who had hurt me. After a lengthy return to stage 4 (depression, after losing the boy from 3 states away that I’d endearingly called my ‘buoy’ when he helped me navigate the shark-infested waters of my sadness) that resulted in a horrible rebound, I finally met acceptance. My first relationship was over. It had ended badly, there was now a couple more people in the world in the possession of a bullet with my name on it, but it was a good thing. It needed to happen, for my sake as well as his.
I would never again hear the phrase, “Lucy, I’m home!” in his carefully articulate tone… but then again, I didn’t want him to come home, any more.
Those last few sentences make it sound as if I’ve healed, doesn’t it?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
While I may not want to ever see Alek again, may in fact hate his name, his voice, his face, his very existence, I have just been simply unable to move past the built-up hurt. All of the things I was never able to say to him, about how much hurt he left with me, how I simultaneously wish things had been different with us while wishing I had never met him, how horrible of a person I think he is; all of those things still get to me every day. I’ll be struck by a particularly devastating flashback and will have to bury my face in a book to distract my thoughts elsewhere, or in my boyfriend’s shoulder in order to hide the hurt that inevitably fills my eyes. I’ve never been more grateful for the dark, as it can hide so much of the indelible pain.
It’s not that I’m not over him. I attribute the nature of my OCD for the inability to avoid the flashbacks and the pain.
The original point of this blog was to say this: I’ve just recently found out that Wonder Boyfriend is moving far away.
Words cannot describe the mix of feelings I am going through as I get used to the idea that he will soon leave the state, finally leaving my plane of existence. I know that I ceased to exist to him long ago, but he stood on the periphery of my mind for over a year now. It is relieving to know that soon he will be many, many miles away from me, and hopefully the damage to my psyche will cease with his final disappearance.
*Name has been changed, for no reason other than I felt like making it all seem glamorous.